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Thread: General question on кое- -то -нибудь -либо particles

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    General question on кое- -то -нибудь -либо particles

    I understand the difference between -то and -нибудь (that is, -то = specific, determined, identifiable and -нибудь = unspecific, indeterminate, existent or nonexistent). From what I've read, кое- goes with -то in basic meaning (but with some nuance), and -либо goes with -нибудь in basic meaning (again, but with some nuance).

    My professor says that кое- and -либо are more literary, and that I shouldn't really worry about them or use them. However, I've seen some threads here and there suggesting the use of кое- or just plainly using -либо. This leads me to believe that I would benefit from knowing the differences between these. Also, I just like cool language features .

    So, what are the differences between кое- and -то and between -либо and -нибудь?

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    Moderator Lampada's Avatar
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    "Similar threads" (on the bottom of this page) might also help.



    что-то, кое-что, что-нибудь, что-либо; to C or not to C


    By tim_in_kiev in forum Grammar and Vocabulary

    Replies: 12 Last Post: July 9th, 2010, 08:45 AM


    -то, -нибудь -либо ?

    By Hanna in forum Grammar and Vocabulary

    Replies: 9 Last Post: November 30th, 2009, 04:11 AM


    кто-то...нибудь...либо

    By samurai in forum Grammar and Vocabulary

    Replies: 7 Last Post: March 28th, 2007, 05:04 PM


    Нибудь and либо

    By Бармалей in forum Grammar and Vocabulary

    Replies: 2 Last Post: January 30th, 2006, 02:57 AM


    нибудь, либо, кое

    By saibot in forum Grammar and Vocabulary

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай it-ogo's Avatar
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    In short (a rule with many exceptions):
    -то = some
    -нибудь = any
    -либо = -нибудь, but don't use it.
    кое-... = "some... we all know about but for some reason not going to mention directly"
    "Россия для русских" - это неправильно. Остальные-то чем лучше?

  4. #4
    Завсегдатай Throbert McGee's Avatar
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    кое-... = "some... we all know about but for some reason not going to mention directly"
    Possibly кое- could be understood as "specifiable, yet for whatever reason, left unspecified." (Like if you say "I saw a certain someone yesterday" -- the "certain someone" is in fact a specific/non-hypothetical person known to the speaker, but the speaker just chooses not to state who this someone is.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Throbert McGee View Post
    Possibly кое- could be understood as "specifiable, yet for whatever reason, left unspecified." (Like if you say "I saw a certain someone yesterday" -- the "certain someone" is in fact a specific/non-hypothetical person known to the speaker, but the speaker just chooses not to state who this someone is.)
    Yes, that's the difference. "Кое-кто"/"кое-что" are used for people and objects whose identity is known to the speaker, but who prefers to use a pronoun anyway. Knowledge doesn't need to be comprehensible: if someone walked into your office looking for your colleague (who is absent), you are certain to use "кое-кто" when your colleague is back if this person left his/her name or something. "Кто-то"/"Что-то" is for people and objects that you are pretty sure are/were/will be there but you don't know their identity.
    In a sentence like "I need someone" you use it like "Мне кое-кто нужен" if it is a specific person ("I'll tell you in a moment who it is") or "Мне кто-то нужен" if anybody will do ("Just need a man or two to start working on this").

    "-нибудь" series of pronouns is used for uncertain "anythings" that may not even exist. That is, they are good for asking "if anything happened", unless it seems like something HAS happened (you may use "что-то" in this case). But you cannot use them in strictly positive sentences in Present or Future tense: for example, "Someone is waiting for you at the couch" or "He is carrying something". In these sentences you are implying a person or an object exists, so it makes no sense to tell "maybe not". Of course, it changes for hypothetical sentences ("If anyone has any objections...") and questions.

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